A group of 30 social entrepreneurs have been selected to take part in Big Venture Challenge – an “investment accelerator” that looks to improve the way investors put their money into organisations that focus on delivering social benefits.
Social enterprise foundation UnLtd selected the final 30 from 140 applicants. The winning enterprises will receive match funding – funds that match the total available from other sources. They will also be supported with investments.
Over the next 12 months, the 30 businesses are expected to attract a total of £4.5m investment.
Those that successfully raise external investment under the programme will be able to access up to a further £100,000 in grants and soft loans (loans with a below-market rate of interest or no interest) funded by the Big Lottery Fund to help their enterprise grow.
“For the social investment market to grow to its projected £1 billion by 2015, it will need a broad and diverse range of innovative new young companies coming through with big ambition and potential to tackle vast social problems”, said Nick O’Donoboe, CEO of Big Society Capital – an independent financial institution that promotes sustainable social investment in the UK market.
“I’m hugely admiring of the model UnLtd and its partners have developed to accelerate these companies and get them on the first steps of the social investment ladder.”
Winners of the programme include Oomph – a company that provides exercise classes to care home residents, and Rapanui, a youth market enterprise that uses eco-materials and reduces unemployment in disadvantaged areas.
Social enterprises are also important for merging private investment and public funding to generate funds for improving public services. Will Ferguson, communications officer at Triodos Bank, previously explained social impact bonds were attempting to do just this.